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We celebrate the 1983 Wayzata Club Hockey Team and one of its stars, Jonny "The Mouse" Mikkelson, who once told me "Our team was so good the varsity wouldn't play us." When asked why he didn't play varsity Mouse said, "Too little." Cutest ever. So, we salute the greatest Club Hockey Team ever, a squad so vaunted even Jim Craig's Miracle team wanted nothing to do with it. Trottier, Bossy, Gretzky, Messier ... dead! Long live the 1983 Wayzata Club Hockey team!
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“If respect for the guy between you and the boards isn’t enough to stop you from running him, maybe what will be is the fear of the retribution that is sure to follow.” –Bobby Orr
This is an excerpt from the great Bobby Orr’s book, the chapter on fighting in hockey. I am not writing about actual fighting in hockey, but violence in hockey. If your worst enemy was standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, would you push him over the edge?
No. Even if you hate somebody, you more than likely respect them enough as a human being not to push them down a cliff. I am disappointed in the lack of respect of players in hockey, mainly the NHL. There have been some recent cheap-shots in the NHL resulting in fines and suspensions. Even though it didn’t result in an injury (or so we think right now, who knows if it will re-surface), but the one that pisses me off the most is the James Neal kneeing incident at Boston against Brad Marchand. http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/james-neal-gets-nhl-phone-hearing-bit-joke-211433123--nhl.html Neal’s quote was “I haven’t seen the replay of anything. I hit him in the head with my leg or my knee or my shin. He’s already going down. I guess I need to try to avoid him,” said Neal.
This is bush league. James Neal is a very good hockey player, but should have gotten 20 games for this, not 5. (I say this even though he’s on my fantasy hockey team) In the same game, Bruin thug Shawn Thornton slew-footed Penguins Brooks Orpik, then kept beating his head into the ice causing the stretcher to come out.
There are other incidents being looked at by the league, but these d-bags need to start respecting their opponents. You can hate them all you want, but you NEED to respect them. They are your peers. I recently heard Doc Emrick talking about player respect, and hope this message gets through. With the newer equipment technology, players are feeling invincible. In a sport that sometimes needs to be policed by the players, the police need to know what they’re doing. Even in the wake of the nationally known tragedy of the Jack Jablonski hit, you still see players hitting players from behind into the boards. I remember when I was young, the normal penalties were tripping, hooking, elbowing, charging……etc… The one penalty that you rarely saw, and when you did it was a major penalty, was boarding. I reffed hockey for 8 years, and “boarding” was the cardinal sin. A major penalty. Now, boarding is a 2-minute minor. WHY?
I will also say on the other side, players need to do a better job avoiding these hits. Don’t stand 3 feet from the boards with your head down. When you ride a motorcycle on the freeway, you have to expect every car to potentially cut you off. You need to ride defensively. Same as being on the ice. You have to keep your head up, be aware of what’s going on, be aware that anybody at any time can run you into the boards. Play aggressive but play defensive.
Watch Zach Parise play. When he’s near the boards, he’s ready to be hit. He prepares for it. These cheap, near the boards incidents occur not only in the NHL, but at the youth level as well. Kids don’t start checking until the bantam level, which I think is too late. Junior High-aged kids get to check for the first time? Trouble!
I have gone in many directions here, but the bottom line is the players need to respect other players. There’s a reason why players shake hands after games, it’s to show respect. Players need to quit playing and acting so reckless and respect the great game of hockey. I HATE having to write negative things about my favorite sport, but felt a need to at this time.
GOOD MORNING PETER ANDERSON is a cat I work with weekdays. He's a producer for FSN and has handled the 11-to-Cloz foxsportsnorth.com webcast of the 'Project since its inception two years ago. And by the way, great time to start the webcast (Twins have finished in last place the last two years). WEALWAYSLOVETHATONE!
Anyoldway, Peter is a very positive, good-natured guy with tremendous work ethic. He walked in studio tjhis morning around 1015 to set up his bit, and after I went to break he said, "Another nice win by your plucky Twins. String some more together and who knows?"
My quick response before walking out of the booth for a few minutes to run down some flirtation was "Not with this pitching staff, honey. Starters are too sketchy, and we need more DEDUNO efforts for that to be plausible."
My retort is true, and even during the three-game winning streak for Minnesota fewer than 5 percent polled would give them a chance to catch the Tigers and win the division. By winning last night, shoot, we just pulled out of last place, sadly our home the last two years. Deduno was terrific, the rock-star bully did its part and they are actually hitting the ball pretty well these days. But from 6 1/2 games back we need a bit, and I think I have the answer.
The starting rotation has given no signs of late it (a) will not kill the bullpen and (b) will string together efforts we saw from Sam last night. Seriously, we are near the bottom of MLB in BAA and even our best innings-eater KEVIN CORREIA gets tagged a bit during his elongated stretches. This bunch has the look all season of a "five-and-fly" quintet.
So, let's find a way to stay relavent with what we have, assuming the hitting improves, and some of these averages and OBP numbers cannot get any worse. When KYLE GIBSON joins the roster let's wheel him out of the bullpen to (a) keep his innings count down and (b) to have a trio in Gibson-BURTON-PERKINS that might be lethal. The starters play the five-and-fly card, we insert Gibson for a couple, then Burton, who is upper echelon at what he does, and hopefully get to Perkins, who has only two blown saves from 13 tries. Burton into Perkins is about as good as you'll find in the game.
Gibson amassed nine saves during his career at Missouri and will make his money as a starter in MLB. But maybe to take stress off his arm and mind we ponder using him from the bullpen to compensate for starters who can be antithetical to clean during the first halves of games. It's not a stupid idea, is it? ROY SMALLEY was in studio today and didn't mind the take, although he disagreed with it.
I know Gibson is a starter by trade and that's where he'll help the most. But if he's not totally ready and if they are going to keep an eye on his pitch count and innings pitched to be safe then let's bring him out of the bullpen. We can keep these suckers close through five, then while the adversary is dealing with a pitcher seeing a lineup for a third time or some no-name slappy entering because their guy was five-and-fly, we come in with Kyle Freaking Gibson! Kyle for two, hit the ball and makes some plays, Burton for one and Perkins to close you down.